The Wrong Way to Give Up Wheat

More and more people are giving up wheat every day, far more than just those diagnosed with Celiac disease. Perhaps encouraged by reading Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis or the testimony of journalists and many others who have experienced dramatic health benefits, many are turning to a life without wheat.

Unfortunately, many who are giving up wheat are replacing the wheat with “gluten-free” processed foods from their grocery store, thereby trading one problem for another.

To see what I mean, take a look at a few gluten-free foods pulled randomly from my local grocery store shelf. First, is gluten-free pancake mix:

Gluten Free Pancake Mix

Looks yummy, but what are the ingredients?

Gluten Free Pancake Ingredients

It’s great that we’re avoiding wheat, but if we’re doing so by adding white rice flour, sugar, dextrose, potato starch, and cane juice to our diet, we’re just replacing one problem with another. The damagingly high glycemic ingredients of this product are likely to send anyone’s blood glucose skyrocketing. Don’t believe me? Have a plate of these gluten-free pancakes and check your blood sugar one hour and two hours after finishing your meals.

Now for a gluten-free bread mix:

Gluten Free Bread Mix

How do the ingredients compare?

Gluten Free Bread Ingredients

White rice flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, corn starch, and cane sugar do not form the cornerstone of a nutritious meal. Like the pancake mix above, substituting regular bread with this gluten-free product is going to send our blood glucose into the stratosphere.

When I read comments online from people who gave up wheat but haven’t lost any weight (or have gained weight), my first thought is that they’ve probably replaced the wheat products with gluten-free products like these, ensuring that their glucose and insulin levels remain high and thereby thwarting any attempts at losing weight.

What’s the solution? We shouldn’t try to duplicate our wheat-based existence with gluten-free breads, cookies, cakes, pies, crackers, and other starch-ridden products. Instead, build a lifestyle around unprocessed foods like meats, vegetables, nuts, berries, and, if you’re into dairy, whole-milk cheeses and yogurts.

For those times when you would like a guilt-free cake, pie, cookie, or such, instead of shopping in the gluten-free aisle of your grocery store, try some low-carb alternatives like those found in Dana Carpender’s cookbooks or the fabulous Wheat Belly Cookbook.

And in a future post, I’ll share the recipe for my wheat-free pancakes that also double as sandwich bread.

6 thoughts on “The Wrong Way to Give Up Wheat

  1. I think it’s easier for adults to give up the cakes and cookies, but for children it can be a major change. The paleo and low-carb cookbooks are a great source of guilt-free treats that I am comfortable preparing for my children. Thanks for all the great info!

  2. I believe a major problem here is the lack of educating people who are encouraged to give up wheat. They think it is just wheat as the problem. Many people don’t do the self research to know that the vast majority of replacements for wheat are just as bad.

    • I completely agree. While I applaud anyone’s decision to give up wheat, ignoring the effects of radically elevated glucose levels and other issues caused by many gluten-free foods is just replacing one set of problems with another.

  3. Don’t always make wheat the bad guy!

    I started getting eczema in adulthood. My skin became ultra-sensitive. This situation co-incided with bakeries using Soya flour – because it is cheap I guess. However, it took me years to work out what the problem was. Now, I do eat bread, though not every day. I don’t usually get eczema these days unless I go abroad and eat in hotels. For some people, trying to give up soya flour may be the answer.

    • I’m glad to hear that you’re avoiding soy. For a number of reasons, I’m uncomfortable eating the stuff, if for no other reason that so much of it is GMO.

      I wouldn’t let the discovery that you’re sensitive to soy be any kind of reassurance about wheat, however. The effects of wheat can be more subtle than eczema and often include elevated glucose levels, unfavorable lipid particles, and progressive neurological symptoms.

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